What to Know About Acupressure for Sinus Problems

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on July 07, 2023
3 min read

If you have allergies or sinus problems, using acupressure to relieve your symptoms is safe, easy to learn, effective, and free. It focuses on the pressure points connected with the symptoms of allergies such as sinus pain, pressure, congestion, and headaches. Acupressure can be used along with traditional medicine or if traditional medicine doesn't help.

Acupressure has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. Acupressure uses pressure points to send a signal to your body to activate its self-healing mechanisms.

Acupressure is based on the belief that vital energy called Qi flows through meridians, or channels, in the body. A blockage of this flow or an imbalance of Yin and Yang can cause illness or pain. Acupressure helps to restore the flow and correct the imbalance in your body.  

Acupressure is easy to perform on yourself. The easiest way is to use your fingers to press firmly in a rotating motion or an up-and-down motion for 3 minutes at a time. 

Performed regularly, acupressure can help maintain relief from sinus pain and prevent it from returning. More tips for performing acupressure include: 

  • Use deep, firm pressure when massaging each point.
  • Relax in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and breathe deeply during the acupressure. 
  • Repeat the acupressure as often as you want. 
  • Someone else can also perform acupressure on you, too. 

You have four pairs of sinus cavities in your head. They are connected by narrow passageways. Your sinuses normally produce a thin mucus that drains from the passageways in your nose. 

The purpose of this drainage is to keep your nose clean and to keep bacteria out of your nose. Your sinus cavities are normally filled with air. However, when the passageways get blocked they can fill with fluid, causing sinus congestion. 

The four pairs of sinus cavities include:

  • The maxillary sinuses – located below your eyes. 
  • The ethmoidal sinuses – located between your eyes. 
  • The frontal sinuses – located above your eyes.
  • The sphenoidal sinuses – located behind your eyes. 

Large intestine 20. This point is located at the base of your nose. Place your fingers on either side of the bottom of your nose where it meets your cheeks. This point helps with facial swelling, sinus congestion, and respiratory disorders. 

Large intestine 4. This point is located in the web between your thumb and first finger. It's at the highest point of the muscle that bulges when your thumb and index finger are pressed together. This pressure point can be stimulated to help with headaches and jaw pain

Bladder 2. This point is located at the top of the inner eyebrow right underneath the orbital bone on each eye. It's in the area where your eyebrow meets your nose. This point can be stimulated to help with facial pain and frontal headaches.  

Gallbladder 20. This point is located at the back of the skull where the ear bone meets the neck. Stimulation of this point helps with midline headache and neck pain.

Liver 3. This point is located on your foot about two finger widths above where the big toe and second toe meet. You can stimulate this point to help with headaches and irritability.

While research on acupressure is limited, several studies have shown positive results. A 2016 study of 25 people with allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, found that people who performed hand acupressure for 30 minutes daily improved their symptoms. They also needed to take less medicine. 

Another study compared groups of people with chronic back pain. Those who performed acupressure for 27 to 30 minutes daily for 6 weeks, experienced improved pain and fatigue symptoms compared to a control group.

A 2016 randomized controlled trial of breast cancer survivors found that acupressure improved chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and poor sleep more than standard care. The women in the study were trained to perform acupressure at home and divided into three groups. One group performed relaxing acupressure. One group performed stimulating acupressure, and one group had standard care. The relaxing acupressure was most effective.

Because acupressure is low-risk, low-cost, and easy to administer, it may be a useful pain management strategy.